tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 18, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT
it's time to succeed to the throne of the presidency. he covets the finest residents in america, the highest office in the free world. and here is the truth. he is contemptuous, callous, and con se condescending, and if anyone should take personal responsible it's time. thanks so much for watching. chris matthews is next. caught. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. let me start tonight with, if i were a rich man. dumb. it's one thing to be rich and have the majority of voters convinced you're out to help the rich. is there anything dumber to be called pandering to your fellow
rich? hey, buddy, give me $50,000 i'll give you dinner and tell you what i really think. what does mitt romney really think about that 47% out there, that ones who will never -- you will never catch at a party like this? he called them a bunch of free loaders who want breakfast in bed and who want people at the 50k dinners to foot the bill. tonight the morning after, and yes, we've got more tapes of that infamous dinner to remember. that tony get together where the republican nominee for president of the united states shared his deepest beliefs about the two kinds of people in this country, those who give, like him, and those who take and loaf and vote for obama. joining me now is david karn with brother jones the author of "show down and john heilemann. we have new tape to show you from that fund-raiser including what said about the israeli/palestinian conflict. before we get to that, here is that shocking tape from romney talking about the 47% of americans who he says are definitely not voting for -- are
definitely voting for obama, not for him. he was answering a question from a donor apparently. the tape was first posted by the great mother jones magazine. let's watch. >> 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. all right. there are 47% who are with him who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. it's entitlement and the government should give it to them, and they will vote for this president no matter what. and the president starts off with 48, 49, he starts off with a huge number. these are people who pay no income tax. 47% of americans pay no income tax. so our message of low taxes doesn't connect. he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. that's what they celebrate every four years, and so my job is not to worry about those people. i'll never convince them they should take personal
responsibility and care for lives. i have to convince the 50% to 10% in the center that are independents. >> you know, david, congratulations on getting this out to the public because we often think, what does a politician really believe? and maybe we don't hear it here, but pretty close. behind closed doors, there he is pandering to a bunch of rich people basically referring to the nonrich, to the people in the bottom 50% of the country, the 47% to be precise, as bums, loafers, shirkers, the people who really don't carry their load but expect the rich to give them breakfast in bed effectively. i think it's a telling statement, and my only question to you since you unearthed this, is he saying this is what i believe or is this a high pander to the rich or both? >> well, i don't see any reason why it can't be both. if you watch the tape as we just did, you know, he looks very convincing, at least to me. he said last night in response to the tape that he was speaking off the cuff. usually when you speak off the cuff, you say what's in your heart, what you really mean, it means not being scripted. so this didn't sound like a
scripted remark to pander to people who had paid $50,000 a plate to see him. there are a lot of ways to talk about this issue of whether we're going to have a government centered society, whether entitlements go too far and encourage people not to work. there are policy issues and the way to describe them, but he was sort of brazen in how sweeping his remarks were that these people just don't believe in personal responsibility, that the 47% of americans who voted for barack obama don't have any sense of working for themselves, and that seemed to me to be the tell. he didn't have to go this far to pander to these people, but it was like you and i, we're the strivers, we make our own success, and we're up against, you know, a population full of parasitic moochers, and that's what this campaign is going to be about. >> it reminded me -- >> in order to win. >> i like the book "the fountain head." 2456s the whole idea. there were the looters, those people who didn't do anything. john heilemann, this question about -- he really did sound
like a tory more than a republican. a real elitist. you used to hear about the new york yacht club, i love to see them work, that kind of stuff. >> there are tories, margaret thatcher, the shop keepers daughter who wanted to lift the poor up. i think there's the analysis he's doing of society of the economy, but the thing to me that's more troubling is this notion that not only is he analyzing and saying this is what this category of people are like, but he's saying i can't help them, i can't do anything for them, there's no reason for me to try to talk to them, right? if you're going to be -- this is the obama campaign has made this point, but if you're going to be president of the united states, you're the president of all the people, not just the ones who vote for you, not just the ones who are 6 your class, not just the ones you identify with. his attitude was there's nothing i can do about those people so my campaign will just ignore them because of the way they are. i think that's the most troubling thing about it, and,
you know, the right has pointed out all day long and you mentioned in the lead in to this that this is like president obama with the comment that he 345ed in 2008 at the fund-raiser in san francisco about people -- bitter people clinging to their guns and religion. the huge difference was when president obama said that, it was also condescending and it was also contemptuous and it cost him in the pennsylvania primary, in the west virginia primary, in a lot of primaries with white working class voters but when he made the comment, if you look at the whole quote, he says this is the way these people are, but that doesn't mean i'm not going to go campaign for their votes. he says there's some people like that who are going to be less amenable to my appeal than they would otherwise be, but i got to still go in there and fight for the votes, stand in front of them and ask them for their vote. that's exactly the opposite of what romney was saying. romney is saying these people aren't going to like me so i'm going to forget about them. >> the weekly standard, a conservative, wrote romney's comments were stupid and arrogant and in conservative david brooks a really smart guy
wrote, as a description of america today, romney's comment is a country club fantasy. it's what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. it reinforces every negative view people have about romney. now, the headline of that column was thurston howell romney referring to the millionaire on "gilligan's island" just to remind you, here is the guy. >> the whole thing is a democrat. >> you understand the principle. you're a man of ethics. >> you sure know how to cut a man, don't you? >> i officially place myself under hut arrest. >> thurston, you're a convict. oh! >> lovey, i have been framed. i'll appeal. i'll take it to the supreme court. i'll do even higher. the rules committee of the newport country club. >> thurston howell, i forgot
him, but he's a caricature, but the words could have been spoken by him at that boca raton fund-raiser. 50k to get in the door and everybody talking like him in effect, the poor and the democracy being some sort of degrading experience to have to go through. >> you know, it sounded like, you know, mitt romney was saying, my goodness, half the public are parasites trying to live off us, and the only way we can get into power is to convince 5% of those independents to side with us and protect us from the masses, and then that's what this is all about. it was really -- it was very striking in how he's defining this campaign as a clash between the free loaders and those of us in this room who have strived on our own and risen on the basis of our own merit. elsewhere in the tape he angrily says i didn't inherit nothing. i made everything. >> give me a break. >> he has this view once again that he built that, he built it all by himself and there are people out there trying to take
what he built. >> you know when people start to leave the ship things are in trouble. here is linda mcmahon who wants to win in connecticut knowing her candidate for president, mitt romney, is unlikely to win in connecticut but she wants to separate herself from his comments. quote, i disagree with governor romney's insinuation that 47% of americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care. i know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be. scott brown today also distanced himd from romney. quote -- he mailed this out to the hill magazine. that's not the way i view the world. as someone who grew up in tough circumstances, i know being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. there you have it. you know what's going on here. people want to win these elections and could well win like linda mcmahon and certainly scott brown, the incumbent senator. they don't want to be on the good ship lollipop of mitt romney. >> this is the question i have been asking this question since last week with his response to
libya. the republican establishment is watching this race very closely. elected officials, the cons consultant class, financial people. they're looking at it and they want to know, is this guy in a downward spiral? the polls are still close. mitt romney can still win this race, but if you remember back in 1996, chris, there came a point, and it was a long way before election day when the republican party said we're done with bob dole. he's not going to win this race, we got to take care of ourselves. it was -- >> we're not there yet. >> no, we're not there yet. we're not there yet, but the fact of what's happened over the course -- this is why all of this is in context. it's two horrific weeks and it raises the stakes for romney in the debates because if he does not win decisively in the first debate, we could be at that point. >> one last pander in this to the rich and the people down there with right wing views. david, you have a piece of tape. let's talk about another piece of tape. this is part of the romney speech down there to those wealthy people. it's about palestinians and it's a knock on the palestinians. no big politics there, but he seems to suggest there's no
chance of a two-state solution which has been the policy of both our parties for years now. let's watch. >> these are problems and they are very hard to solve, and i don't think the palestinians not wanting to see the anyway, for political purposes, committed to the detrucks and elimination of israel and these thorny issues and i say there's just no way. what you do is you say you move things along the best way you can, you hope for some degree of stability but you recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem. we live with that in china and taiwan. all right. we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow something will happen to resolve it. we don't go to war to try and resolve it imminently. on the other hand, i got a call from a former secretary of state, i won't mention which one it was, but this individual said to me, you know, i think there's
a prospect for a settlement between the palestinians and the israelis after the palestinian elections. i said, really? and, you know, his answer was, yes, i think there's some prospect, and i didn't delve into it. >> you know, i don't know, what did you think of that tape? y >> i think there were three things that clip shows us. first, romney has said publicly that he believes in a two-state solution. i guess that's not true. really strikes me in watching the whole tape that he doesn't believe a two-state solution is possible so he's proposing a radical departure from the u.s. administration policy since the clinton years and through the bush and obama years. two, you know, do we want to have that change in policy? he believes that there's not really an active way of pursuing peace. he just wants to kick the ball down the field. i mean, i don't know if that's the right analogy. >> i'm not knocking bee bee, but that is his policy right now.
he seems to say don't even get close to a deal. they're not ready for a deal and we're not ready. >> he takes the palestinians and he lumps them into one mindset. all palestinians don't want peace, they want to destroy israel. that's certainly not the case. it shows he doesn't have a good grasp of the reality on the ground, and he wants to have a radical departure from policy without admitting that in public. >> i think he said before that the palestinians are part of 47% in his mind anyway. >> at the very end he says a former secretary of state called him and said a deal might be possible after the election. he says i didn't delve into it. why not? >> no curiosity. >> thank you. coming up, much more on the romney tape. who are those 47% who mitt romney says will never be convinced to take personal responsibility for their lives? a lot of romney voters may be very surprised to learn he's talking about them. also, romney's been trying to turn president obama into some kind of cartoon version of jimmy carter. well, guess who helped leak that romney video to our friend david corn?
jimmy carter iv, the president's grandson. he'll be with us. plus some desperate republicans are trying to equate the romney tape with obama's guns and religion tape four years ago but there's a huge difference between the two and the difference is barack obama wanted their votes. let me finish with a rare look at mitt romney. it's the mitt romney who actually said what he thinks, and this is "hardball," the place for politics. cute. then new activia breakfast blend. a great way to help start the day. it's hearty with twice the protein of regular lowfat yogurt. mmmm... new activia breakfast blend.
new poll numbers now show that the key senate race in massachusetts also the krurge battleground state in virginia are getting excited. let's check the scoreboard. we start in virginia where a new "washington post" poll shows president obama with an eight-point lead over mitt romney. 52% to 44%. wow. now to massachusetts where elizabeth warren is enjoying a bounce from the democratic national convention. according to a new poll, she's up by four over senator scott brown. that's the third poll this week that shows warren in the lead. warren spoke on the final night of the democratic convention just before president obama. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." so who are that 47% of people mitt romney says he'll never convince they they should, quote, take personal responsibility and care for their lives. columnist david brooks asked the same question and wonders is it the iraq war veteran who goes to the va? is it the student getting a loan to go to college? is it the retiree on social security or medicare? and these charts from the tax policy center show who that 47% is. these are the people that don't pay federal income tax. in 2011 46.4% of households paid no federal income tax so romney is correct there. let's zero in on what that group is. turns out nearly two-thirds of that 47% did pay federal payroll taxes. now, what about the people who paid neither federal income tax nor payroll tax? of that small group, 10% of elderly and 7% are nonelderly
earning under $20,000 a year. the truth is when romney says 47% are nontax paying free loaders, he's wrong. and many of those he considers free loaders, specifically retirees and white working close voters, fit the romney voter profile. ezra cline is a policy analyst for msnbc. joe klein. just to break this out and to show that of the people who don't pay federal income tax, two-thirds do pay payroll tax and two-thirds of the other one-third are basically retirees who are benefiting from having worked their whole lives, paid taxes their whole lives and are in retirement. what's wrong with that? isn't that the american compact itself? >> not only is there nothing wrong with it but mitt romney's policy shows he doesn't think there's anything wrong with it. he says he won't raise taxes on anybody making less than $20,000. there are some tax increases hidden there for some people making very little. he says he won't touch any medicare or social security benefits for the current generation of retirees.
so he's saying essentially he wants to keep this status quo exactly as it is. one other thing on this, this trick that has been played in the tax conversation where we keep saying federal income taxes, federal income taxes are the part of the tax code that is progressive. they're the part of the tax code that tends to focus in on the richer on richer americans. payroll taxes are also federal taxes -- >> and they're regressive. >> more regressive. people don't pay them above $100,000. if you pay -- >> give me your favorite example of the unfairness of that. like if you pay a payroll tax because you're making like $20,000 a year or $25,000 a year but not paying income tax, you're paying 15.3%. what's romney paying? >> he's paying 13.9%. exactly. in you're somebody who makes $85,000 your paying payroll tacks on all of that. you're paying a higher tax rate than mitt romney easily. it's a way of making the tax code look like the rich are paying all of it in order to justify further tax cuts for the rich. that is the policy trick being played. >> thurston howell talked like
the elite being talking to the other elite. will that sell with archie bunker, with a guy killing himself with two jobs to get the income. is he going to like that talk that everybody not making a lot of money is a bum? >> one of the biggest problems romney has is he's only paying 14%. when you talk to working people out in the country they're amazed. they're paying a lot more than that. and as we just -- as ezra demonstra demonstrated, by the way, we're not related. >> a lot of kleins out there. here he is dumping on the people who pay more than he does. >> absolutely. this guy is getting one of the biggest tax boondoggle breaks in the american tax code, which is that his -- you know, his income is taxed at the capital gains rate rather than at the earned income rate. and so who are all these fat cats he's talking to? they are people making money off of oil subsidies, cotton subsidies, sugar subsidiesubsid these other goodies in the tax code for rich people.
>> ezra, i know you're not a political person, but i'm going to ask you a question. doesn't it seem odd to you that this guy is down there giving an exposition on tax structure and who is paying and who is not and won't release his own returns? isn't that odd? >> i do think it's odd. i think it's even odder that he's somebody who won't release the details of his tax policy plan 37 it's one thing to say i'm not going to tell what you i have paid in the past. it's a whole other thing to go to america and say make me president but i'm not going to tell you what you're going to pay in the future. that to me is a great -- >> i think there's a theme to this campaign. it's a combination what he says in back rooms for rich people to give him money and what he puts on the air. let's look at this discredited romney welfare ad and how it fits into what he said at boca rat tone. it's evidence of romney's strategy described at the fund-raiser very much like only this is the way they put it on the tube. >> in 1996 president clinton and a bipartisan congress helped end welfare as we know it, birequiring work for welfare, but on july 12th, president obama quietly announced a plan
to gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements. under obama's plan you wouldn't have to work and wouldn't have to train for a job. they just send you your welfare check, and welfare to work goes back to being plain old welfare. mitt romney will restore the work requirement because it works. >> well, that ad is simply dishonest. work requirements were not eliminated when the false welfare ads made news usa today reported last month, quote, romney defends the welfare ads as accurate accusing obama of offering state waivers as a political calculation designed to, quote, shore up his base for the election. the people who want breakfast in bed and don't want to work. there he runs an ad saying obama is out there giving them welfare without work, checks without work, and also he's doing it to get his voters out. he can't be more base than that. >> no. what you have here is a really demented campaign. they're running against an imaginary version of barack obama, this -- >> socialist. >> radical muslim socialist, and
now they've invented this imaginary electorate of 47% of whom are moochers. i mean, this does not stand the test of reality, but it does stand the test of fox news and rush limbaugh, their version of reality, which isn't truthful. >> ezra, before you came along, you're about the best of the business in analyzing numbers right now that we argue about, it used to be you'd ask people how much money is this government wasting in foreign aid. everybody would say about 30% of the gdp. how much are we spending on welfare? about 50%. finally because you're out there, we're cutting through that. so guys like romney can't go, even before the rich guys and lie to them or push untruths at them because there are actual homes. >> we try. joe would probably know the story better than i do. these tax breaks that are taking people's liability away, the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, this is part of the way we got away from welfare and towards work fair. these are work incentivizing
changes to the tax code. one thing clinton and the republicans did in the '90s was move away from spending money on welfare, move towards spending on work. mitt romney comes along and says the effect of that is bad and it's made us moochers. it's really just the opposite. these are work incentivizing tax cuts. >> those were the lest liberal ideas of that period. thank you. up next a video of romney was unaerd by james carter iv. grandson of former president jimmy carter who says he doesn't like romney and republicans knocking his grandpa. he will join us to tell us he unearthed this sugar plum about mitt's deepest thoughts. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro.
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in georgia, that man in question, is the grandson of democratic stalwart and former president jimmy carter, a frequent target of mitt romney's attacks. we me now is james carter iv. thank you, james, for coming on. it's an honor to have on such a good researcher and reporter. first of all, is your grandfather watching right now? >> i hope so. >> good. nice to see you, mr. president. thank you for letting me be one of your people. let's go to this thing. how did you get this video roughly? how did you come up with it? >> well, roughly i found a piece of the longer video during a regular -- like a routine search on youtube that i do and tracked it down to its source and talked them into giving it up. >> the people who study these use of cell phones and other technologies say it looks like it was mounted on something off to the side of the stage there. you see the angle from the left looking at the speaker, mitt romney. do you have any idea how it was
put there without detection? >> i don't, no. >> did the person who gave it to you tell you why they gave it to you, why they put it out? >> well, they thought that some of the things that romney was saying in the video needed to be heard by a wider audience. >> is it fair to assume that the person who gave you this tape is not one of the $50,000 contributors? >> i think it's probably fair to say sum that. >> because i was thinking it might be somebody who is a ca r caterer because why else are they working there or paying to be there. that's a reasonable assumption but you don't have to go any further on that. let me ask you about your feelings about this and i think most journalism is driven by some drive, it can be ambition, it can be the truth, it can be an attitude about some of the people you cover. what was your attitude about getting this into the hands of david corn w40 was a liberal writer and you figured he would get it out. >> i'm a partisan democrat and my goal was to get democrats
elected. not just at the presidential level but at -- to all offices. >> what do you think of mitt romney? >> i don't know mitt romney. i think that's part of the problem. >> do you resent the fact he's been dumping on your grandpa? >> that is not something that i think favorably of him for, definitely. >> i can understand that. james, thank you for coming on the show tonight. i know you're not used to this. it's great to have you on. it is a moment in the sun for you which you richly deserve. much more on the romney tape ahead in the hour including why comparisons to barack obama's, well, foreously guns and religion comments won't hold up. it's unforced errors like this one by romney that is the reason the president has opened up a lead. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. you know why i sell tools? tools are uncomplicated.
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i'm tyler mathisen with your cnbc market wrap. modest moves for stocks today. the dow up a mere 11. the s&p down 2. and the nasdaq was basically flat losing 1. apple shares though powered higher closing above the $700 a share mark after crossing the $700 threshold monday in after-hours trading. meanwhile, the federal express company, fed ex, fell about 3%. its earning beat estimates but it cut its profit target. home builder sentiment rose to its highest level in more than six years. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball."
and i'll tell you what. our campaign has a secret weapon, and that secret weapon is speaking right now in tulsa, oklahoma. let's take a look. >> hello, i'm mitt romney, and i understand the hardships facing ordinary americans. for example, this summer one of my horses failed to medal at the olympics, so i know hardship. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was, of course, the fake president obama and the fake mid-romney on "saturday night live" this weekend, but "snl" was perhaps onto something. barack obama is seemingly ahead of mitt romney even while voters aren't happy with the economy or the direction of the country much. in fact, the real politics average of national polls has obama up by about three now. that's the combined polling of all the majors. how is he doing it. let's go to nia malik henderson. what changed in the last month?
while the country looked at libya and some of the missteps he made in london, but what grabbed a lot of people in the center left and center was the incredible speech by bill clinton down in charlotte. your thoughts about what that did to improve the situation for the president. >> i think that's right. bill clinton made an effective case. the argument was essentially democrats do it better. he laid out the case over the last 50 or so years democrats have done a better job creating jobs and growing the economy. and i think people listened to that speech. it was certainly much more well-received than mitt romney's speech. you had michelle obama do the same sort of talking about the democrats, talking about obama as someone who had a childhood that i think a lot of people could relate to. her own childhood as well growing up on the south side of chicago. so i think people looked at that convention and saw themselves in a way they didn't look at the rnc, and there weren't a lot of handles into that convention in the way i think the dnc was able to put on a real tab leau of
different stories. it resonated with people. >> i think bnt is able to defend the terrible situation obama had when he walked in the door. it didn't seem like whining when he said it. president obama uses bnt in a new campaign add. let's look at this and see how this is going to register. >> he keeps saying it. >> this prz cannot tell you he's better off today than when he took office. >> here is where we were in 2008. >> worst financial collapse since the great depression. >> american workers were laid off in numbers not seen in three decades. >> here's where we are today, 30 months of private sector job growth creating 4.6 million new jobs. we're not there yet, but the real question is, whose plan is better for you? the president's plan asked millionaires to pay a little more, to help invest in a strong middle class, clean energy, and
cut the deficit. mitt romney's plan, a new $250,000 tax break for multimillionaires, roll back regulations on the banks that cratered the economy, and raise taxes on the middle class. >> they want to go back to the same old policy that is got us in trouble in the first place. >> we're not going back, we are moving forward. >> you know, i was thinking that the most powerful number that came out of the "new york times" poll this weekend was the number that said 53% of the american people, nyia, that's a pretty good majority, believe the primary goal of mitt romney is basically to help the rich when he gets in there. and then all this week i'm thinking how that puts the polish on that car because everybody is out there thinking, my god, that's right, look at him talk. they caught him behind the scenes there. >> that's right. and you saw democrats spend the entire summer making this case, all of those bain ads talking about mitt romney as an outsourcer. he, of course, had those gaffes during the primary where he said he didn't care -- he wasn't very concerned about the poor. and you're right, this only
feeds that caricature. mitt rom has participated in underscoring that with this last comment, and i also think he hasn't done himself any good either because he hasn't been very detrailed about his own policy. so that's allowed democrats an opening to really paint him for themselves and it obviously has been a very negative picture that he hasn't been able to counteract very effectively. >> what about this picture of him as thurston howell that david brooks painted in "the new york times"? he didn't write the headline but somebody did and put it on the top of his column. thurston howell romney, the notion of a guy who is out for the rich but has no idea what the rest of the people are about. we're learning the 47% of the country he's talking about, he doesn't know anything about. >> i think that's what people will find most disturbing. his view of america doesn't comport with what most people think of. we're very hard working. this idea that 50% of americans
are just waiting for a government handout i think strikes most people as very disconcerting. i think, again, mitt romney doesn't very often have settings where he's around other people, where he's talking to them on the stump. he doesn't drop by delis very much and talk one-on-aun with people and i think in that way it contrasts very much with obama who you do see out there. he's getting the bear hug from that guy, he's joking with kids, and i think he's done himself some good in that way. i think obama has also benefited from really embedding himself in pop culture, right? he started this campaign, he was on jay leno, he's on espn. i think people have come to like him in that way. so ths been very hard for mitt romney to really continue this caricature of president obama as an outsider who is a socialist and all these other sorts of ideas that he's picked up from the right wing because obama comes across as a likable guy. >> ki just make one point of
anecdotal fact. i got up to go to the doctor. i must tell you when i see 1 million cars going to work at 7:30 in the morning i wonder who these lazy bums are. all these people going to work at 7:30 in the morning. racing ang waiting in line to go to work. who is romney talking about? anyway, thank you very much. up next, back to the romney tape and why it's very important and potential i much more damaging than barack obama's guns and religion comments four years ago that was also behind closed doors. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ ow ner ] i need to expand to meet the needs of my growing business. but how am i going to fund it? and i have to find a way to manage my cash flow better.
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the pennsylvania supreme court has ruled on a lower court decision upholding the state's new voter photo id. law saying more information is needed about whether the law could disenfranchise minority voters and it's a decision that could lead to an all out injunction against that strict new law. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams joins us now. pete, how can we read this, it seems confusing. what does it say, this new ruling by the supreme court in pennsylvania? >> here is what this is now about in requiring voters to show a photo i.d. at the polls the legislature intedded to make it easy for residents who don't have a driver's license to get a voter i.d. card by showing only a minimal amount of identification when getting one. the state agencies are insisting
on more rigorous proof of identity. they're demanding applicants have a birth certificate, a social security card and two other forms of identification. the state agencies say if they give the cards out on the more relaxed basis spelled out in the new voter i.d. law, that would create a homeland security problem because the cards with be used to board aircraft. so now the state is coming up with a new voter i.d. card that won't be good for anything else to get around that problem. so today the state supreme court instructed a judge to take another crack at this case and find out whether the state actually will make it more difficult to get one of these i.d. cards, chris. >> thank you very much, pete williams. we're going to be right back with more "hardball." ♪ [ female announcer ] now your best accessory can be your smile.
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welcome back to "hardball." some romney defenders are saying the candidate's caught on tape comments, romney's caught on tape comments, are similar to president obama's caught on tape comments back when he was a candidate and he talked about people clinging to their guns and religion back in 2008. but as john heilemann pointed out earlier in this show, there's a big difference. let's listen again to what then-candidate obama said to supporters in 2008. >> you go into some of these small towns in pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years, and nothing's replaced it, and they fell through the clinton administration and the bush administration and each success i have administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not. so it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy
toward people who aren't like them. >> but it was what obama says next that's often let out of the tap tapes. he encourages the supporters to reach out and win them over. let's listen. >> i think what you'll find is that people of every background, there are going to be a mix of people, you can go into the toughest neighborhood, working class lunch pail folks, you'll find obama enthusiasts, and you go into places where you think i'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. the important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing. >> joining me is jonathan shade and "huffington post's" john stein. what the differences are and the similarities in the tapes. >> what obama was trying to say was that, yes, there's a constituency that's opposed to him and he expressed it in a
kind of condescending way that peep don't like and understandably don't like, but it was fundamentally an express of social solidarity. he was saying my policies will benefit these people. we can explain it and we need to make the case, and if we make the case, i think we can get some of them to come our way. romney's was essentially saying my policies are not going to benefit those people, so they'r benefit those people so they'll never vote for us, which is a disturbing thing to say if you want to be president. >> dismissing half the people. your thoughts, sam, on both thoughts, what is similar and dissimilar. >> jonathan, it's unimportant. one is inclusive, trying to reach out and the other is just assuming they won't be in your cause. another underlooked from that bitter obama -- the premise of the question is, why aren't people voting are for you? it's easy to say they don't want to vote for the black man. and then he went on to try to explain it. we're very much condescending details but i think we got the
distinction between romney and him. it could have been easy to say, they're not voting for racism and he tried to explain it out and ended in a heap load of trouble. >> it was a well-off neighborhood in san francisco to try to explain the different culture. the problem with the obama statement is people don't cling to religion more than -- religion is what you cling to. you have to believe, because you need it. and you believe in it. it's your belief. it isn't something you hang onto just for, you know, safety's sake in bad times. i think he was saying, cling to. and the gun thing, people enjoy hunting deer in pennsylvania as much as he enjoys shooting hoops or playing golf. i mean, that's just a putdown, i thought. jonathan, thoughts now. >> no, i think that's correct, although i think in the context of what he was saying is he was clinging to those things as voting yishissues, not as lifes
practice. >> yeah. >> yeah, i don't think he was saying they would give up their guns or religion if they had economic prosperity, but it was very murky. he was speaking off the cuff. >> by the way, president obama just made his first comment on the romney tape itself. the president made an appearance on tonight's "late show with david letterman." he said, there aren't a lot of people out there who think they are victims. coming back rather calmly. he's not looking to exploit this but my bet is the campaign will. >> romney has done damage to himself and obama doesn't need to push him any further. you're right, the campaign will do it subtly. for obama it seems like a fairly easy play. let romney do all the explaining and stay away from it. >> your thoughts, jonathan, dangle slowly, slowly in the wind, as someone said in watergate? >> i don't think this is going
to be a big political hit on romney, even people who don't pay income taxes. when people say republicans they mean taxes, it works. >> there we disagree. i believe this is the script behind the scenes script, this is the explanation, if you will, of what he's done in his ad campaign and going after. blaming welfare is getting rid of work quirment was for the poor out there, as he pointed out an attempt to work the base. an exposition of that before his rich friends, it's all about obama trying to pay off his poor supporters with more welfare. your thoughts on that? come back at me. >> look, the welfare attack is a positive attack for romney. it shouldn't help him. it should hurt him a lot. it is actually going to either not hurt or possibly help him a little bit. if he can frame it as being the middle class against these poor lazy people -- >> 47%? >> -- that's an effective attack. >> jonathan's right -- >> 47% of the people are lazy
bums? >> how many voters know what percentages are and have a clear idea of what segments are sociological aligned into what fragments? >> do you think people make the case obama should be making, do you think people in veterans hospitals because they lost a limb or two in our wars and are dependent on government help, are they waiting for breakfast in bed? are they somehow shirkers? they're the opposite of shirkers? >> those comments out to -- >> have you given up on america? your sense is worse than obama was in '08. you think they're clinging to idiotic beliefs. >> most people don't follow this all day like you and i do. there are a lot of topics i don't follow all day and i don't know anything about it. >> you're talking to people right now, by definition, watching this, and by definition, are paying attention because it's important. it's the mindset of one of the
candidates for president. i was disturbed, sam and john, by what obama said in san francisco. i was disturbed that he was condescending, an ivy league elitist. i don't like that in american politics. >> let me jump in. john makes a point if you look at polling in aftermath of so-called gaffes, this is not a gaffe but if you look at polling it tends not to move the needle, at least in this campaign. with obama he had the obama of being at the tail end of a process that was largely mathematically -- he did struggle in pennsylvania but at that point we assumed obama would be the nominee unless he had to really get out of the race. romney only has 50 days left. how much can you afford you can talk about this for two more weeks? >> when we return, we'll return with a rare look at romney we got in that tape. he actually said what he thinks. you're watching hard balk. d tho. for what's around this corner...
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let me finish with this. an intriguing defense of what mitt romney said to those wealthy folk in boca raton. he wasn't saying what he believed but what he believed that crowd down there wanted to hear him say. well, if that's the best defense romney can come up with or have put up for him of the most elitist putdown of the american people in history, the guy's really got problems because, because the one all-consuming definition of mitt romney is his readiness to buckle to every element on american right. he